Apple has confirmed one of the worst kept secrets in tech by finally acknowledging that it is ‘investing heavily’ in self-driving cars as part of a five-page letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Penned by Steve Kenner, Apple's director of product integrity, the roadmap outlines the tech giant’s interests in the sector together with a plea to US regulators not limit vehicle testing.
Kenner wrote: “The company is investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation.
"Executed properly under NHTSA's guidance, automated vehicles have the potential to greatly enhance the human experience — to prevent millions of car crashes and thousands of fatalities each year and to give mobility to those without."
Apple is hoping to bring its software expertise to bear on the sector, giving it a head start on its competitors in what could be a lucrative field – but is worried that safety and privacy fears could stymie such dreams.
In recent months driverless cars have begun to appear on UK streets with an electric two-seater vehicle navigating a 2km loop around Milton Keynes railway station.